'A Tallahassee Girl' Excerpt #2

               IN WILLARD'S ABSENCE         205

The  old-fashioned   Capitol  building  stood on
nearly the highest swell.    Just  below it, on  the
hither  side,  the  old  inn,  the  City  Hotel,  with
all its little gabled roof-windows and dilapidated
verandas,  slept among its trees.   Farther north-
ward the low lines of  business  housed, the for-
saken cotton yards and  warehouses, and   then
the little market-house  and  sunny square ;  still
beyond, and a  little  higher, the  broad-winged,
roomy, old residences  looking out from among
the grandest and beautifulest trees in  the world.
They could see the  color of  the  foliage change
with  many a  scintillation, as  the  waves of  the
breeze swept over those undulated groves.      
 "And  see !   Look !"  she  continued.   " Wa-
kulla is at full blast!"                                        
   He followed her hand  with  his eyes, and saw,
far  in the  south-east, a slim,  mysterious,  dark
column  of  smoke  spouting  straight up  to  the
sky.    It  seemed  actually to  strike  the  empy-
rean,  and  rebound  from  its  surface  in dense
fleeces and flakes.                                          
   "It is a  great  mystery, --- that  lonely  smoke-
pot in the vast Wakulla swamp," said Cauthorne
musingly :   "why  doesn't  some  one  undertake
to reach it ?"                                                    

206            A TALLAHASSEE GIRL            

    "I   don't   know,"  she   replied.    Then  she
added  quickly, "Oh,  Judge  White did  try  it,
but he failed!"                                                
    "I was talking with Col. Brevard and  Mayor
Lewis  about  it  yesterday,"  said  Cauthorne ;
"and  I  have written  to  the  proprietors of our
paper suggesting  that  they  send  me  to  look
after this inveterate smoker."                            
    " You  will  find  nothing," she  said,  with  a
little  contempt  of  the  scheme  in  her  voice ;
"there  is  nothing  to  find.   Judge  White  says
the  swamp  is  absolutely  impenetrable.   And
see,  while we've been  talking  the  smoke  has
vanished !"                                                     
    Sure  enough,  it  had.   Cauthorne  turned  to
Lucie with  a  sort of  incredulous  cloud  on  his
face, and said,----                                           
    " You  will  be fading from my sight  next, and
a  ghost  will   come  out  of   the  Murat  palace
yonder.     By  the  way,  tell  me  something  of
Murat and his wife, will you ?"                         
    "Oh !   I  know absolutely nothing about them.
They  have fallen  out  of  the  memory  of  most
people here.    The war was such a sponge.    It
obliterated every thing."